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Lead the U.S. Air Force in the Second Nuclear Age

Nuclear Weapons and Strategy

Cadets in classroom

The Nuclear Weapons and Strategy minor provides a pathway for cadets from all majors to build the technical and strategic foundation to lead the U.S. Air Force in the second nuclear age. Nuclear weapons play an essential role in the strategic deterrence of adversaries and the current limited nature of warfare.

The Nuclear Weapons and Strategy minor focuses on the enduring fundamentals of the nuclear enterprise. This includes the origin of nuclear energy, strategic policy, proliferation, and the effects of radiation as a result of nuclear reactions. The skills and abilities developed in the Nuclear Weapons and Strategy minor are of high importance to the execution of the Air Force’s nuclear mission, maintenance of the Air Force’s nuclear arsenal, and may be applied in many Air Force career fields. Graduates who complete the Nuclear Weapons and Strategy minor will be prepared to lead the USAF in the second nuclear age and will be well prepared to support Air Force Global Strike Command, NNSA, USSTRATCOM, AFNWC, DTRA, AFTAC, and DIA.

Course requirements

The Nuclear Weapons and Strategy minor requires a minimum of 146 hours and at least 2 noncore academic courses (6 semester hours) in residence in excess of the major’s requirements (including the Academy Option). The student must complete these five courses (15 semester hours) with a grade of “C” or better. As this is an interdisciplinary minor, no more than 3 courses for the minor can be from any one department; therefore, the option course must be from a department other than DFP.

  1. Required Courses:
    Physics 310 Principles of Nuclear Science
    Physics 354 Nuclear Weapons Engineering
    Physics 450 Nuclear Weapons Effects
    Soc Sci 467 Nuclear Weapons Policy and Strategy
  2. Choose one of the following:
    Pol Sci 302 American Foreign and National Security Policy
    MSS 423 Weapons, Warfare, and Mass Disruption
    Chem 350 Chemistry of Weapons
    History 320 Winged Defense: The History of Airpower
    History 322 Conquest of the New Frontier*

    *Conquest of the New Frontier:
    The History of Space Power With the approval of DFP, DFC, DFH, DFMI, or DFPS, cadets may substitute a 3.0 sem hrs (or greater) 495 Special Topic or 499 Independent Study course for this requirement. One option for the Independent Study is a summer internship at a location within the National Nuclear Enterprise, selected to provide the cadet an opportunity to work on special projects designed to give them an understanding of the dynamics and challenges within the Nuclear Enterprise. Cadets can follow-up in the fall semester with an Independent Study that builds upon or finalizes the work done during the summer internship. Independent Study requirements are managed and overseen by the department administering the course. To participate in a summer internship, cadets must secure a Cadet Summer Research Program (CSRP) slot.